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Taylor's perfect shooting carries Oregon to Pac-10 title

Mar 11, 2007 - 4:42 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Bryce Taylor and Oregon made it look too easy.

Taylor scored a career-high 32 points for the 18th-ranked Ducks en route to an 81-57 victory over Southern California in the Pac-10 Conference tournament championship game.

A native of nearby Encino, the junior Taylor put together one of the best shooting displays of his young career, connecting on all 11 shot attempts - including an eye-popping 7-of-7 from 3-point range.

"It was fun," Taylor said. "I don't think I've ever done that before but I just got in a good rhythm and my teammates just continued to give me the ball when I was open so I just tried not to force anything and take good shots and it worked for me."

"(Taylor's) a young man that puts a lot of pressure on himself to be great and be perfect and everything and I thought coming home it's always added pressure," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "I just felt like he had a different mentality, a different approach to his game that just freed himself up."

The 6-5 junior broke the tournament field-goal percentage record set by Anthony Cook (.917) of Arizona in 1989. Taylor also tied the 2005 mark by Arizona's Salim Stoudamire for 3-pointers made.

"I try to work on, you know hitting 10 in a row, hitting 20 in a row, so its one of those things where you try to be perfect every time," Taylor said. "So in a situation like (Saturday) you just don't even think about it, you just let your release and your form take over and the rest is kind of second nature."

Taylor was not the only bright spot as teammates Aaron Brooks and freshman Tajuan Porter combined for 31 points in helping the Ducks pick up their second conference title.

"I'm just confident in my shot," said Porter, who scored 24 points in Friday's win over California. "My teammates find me and I just try to take good shots. I don't want to take any bad shots although I'll take a couple bad shots. I try to let my shots come to me."

In the opening half, Taylor netted eight of his 11 first-half points during a 13-5 surge, giving Oregon an impressive 35-20 advantage with 2:48 remaining.

The Ducks continued to pull away after intermission as Taylor scored the first eight points of the second half, extending the lead to 45-24 with 17:39 to go.

Lodrick Stewart scored 12 points and Nick Young added 10 for the Trojans, who shot 37 percent (23-of-61) in falling to 7-5 against ranked opponents this season.

"The first two times we played these guys they were 13-0 and 19-3 and playing at a high, high level," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "But they're playing at a different level right now. They were tremendous, they beat us in all phases of the game."

Southern Cal's Gabe Pruitt struggled following his 26-point performance in Friday's win over No. 12 Washington State, finishing with just six points on 2-of-12 shooting.

"I guess I wasn't ready for their pressure," Pruitt said. "Playing Washington State, they were more laid back, just contained. But Oregon kind of got in the passing lane, so that kind of altered my shot a little bit, so I think that's what bothered me."

    --- --- -----
    OREGON (18) 37 44 81
    USC 24 33 57 FINAL

    Mar 10 7:57 PM

    NCAA BB OREGON (18) 37

    Mar 10 6:55 PM